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MEP Stubb Is Finland's New Foreign Minister

Euro-Parliamentarian Alexander Stubb is to take over the post of Foreign Minister in the aftermath of Ilkka Kanerva's ignoble exit. National Coalition Chairman, Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen, made the announcement on Tuesday morning. "This is a challenge that I accept with great humility," Stubb said at a press conference. "When you're asked to be Foreign Minister, the answer must be yes. When your country calls you to duty, then you must go." Katainen's suggestion of Stubb for the post was quickly approved by the National Coalition's parliamentary group, which met on Tuesday morning to discuss the Kanerva crisis. Stubb's appointment comes as somewhat as a surprise, as the politicians most frequently tapped as possible Kanerva replacements included Defence Minister Jyri Häkämies or Parliamentary Speaker Sauli Niinistö. There was even talk of Katainen making the leap from the Ministry of Finance. Newcomer to Finnish Politics Katainen lavished praise on the charismatic Stubb, describing him as an "exciting man that brings a smile to one's face." "It's true Alexi has never been a politician in Finland, although he has been a civil servant. So this will be something he will learn," Katainen said in a press conference. Stubb listed his extensive foreign experience, especially in Europe, including three years working for the former President of the EU Commission, as reasons why he is qualified for the post. Catching up -- Fast Katainen moreover said Stubb will be able to "jump on a moving train," in referring to Finland's current OSCE chairmanship. Stubb's replacement in the European Parliament will be Sirpa Pietikäinen, since she was a runner-up in the MEP elections in 2004. Pietikäinen served as a member of the Finnish Parliament from 1983 until 2003, when she resigned after being caught driving drunk. Congratulatory messages have been pouring in for Stubb. Apart from becoming the new face of Finnish foreign policy on Tuesday, Stubb also celebrated his 40th birthday. YLE

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